Cooking A La Cordon Bleu


by Alma S. Lach, Harper & Row, 1970, first edition. Hardback with DJ, 468 pages. Foreword by André Simon. It’s remarkable that any book for an American audience on French cooking got any traction at all after the publication of St. Julia’s "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," but Alma’s did. The reason, I believe, is because, frankly, Lach was a good teacher, explaining the “hows and whys” part. Julia wrote “do this” and Lach “do this because….”

This is the original version of the book, which was revised and published by the University of Chcago Press in 1974, retititled "The How's and Why's of French Cooking." Writes the estimable if elderly Simon, a major culinary and wine writer of the post WWII era, “Cookery books published in the course of my long life may be beyond count, but very few of them were like this one, beyond praise!”

Apparently always sought after by succeeding generations of American fanciers of French cooking, the book was republished again in 1998 by Book Sales Books. It makes sense that it has: people want to learn the logic behind cooking techniques, and Lach provides it. She should know: She was one of the first American women to graduate with a Grande Diplome from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, back in 1956.

Lach now has to be in her ‘80s, but she has a website, Again, this is the original book. Three place-keeping ribbons. Very nice condition; slight wear to DJ edges. VG+/VG.

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